Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
There are subjects that are easy to address – both in theatre and the wider world – and there are some that are not. Writer/performer Chris Thorpe’s latest show,Confirmation, is a gutsy dialogue which addresses one of those difficult topics head on: it is intimate, it is challenging, and it poses deeply uncomfortable questions about our propensity to skew facts in our own opinion’s favour.
Thorpe’s monumental monologue, interspersed with cue-card questioning from the audience, addresses the concept of Confirmation Bias: the tendency to select information that confirms beliefs already held. Through a process of interviewing and infiltrating white supremacists,Confirmationpresents two sides of an argument about race, multiculturalism and the Holocaust. Is it possible to have a truly open dialogue with those who hold diametrically opposing views? With people who feel “London is lost” and believe in racial superiority? Don’t even get them started on the Jewish conspiracy…
Thorpe is a self-confessed liberal, and it is a fair assumption that the majority of the audience share his beliefs. What is so interesting about the piece is that the opposition characters Thorpe presents are not the wide-eyed ranting bigot or the swaggering skinhead, but people he has encountered who are troublingly complex. A self-confessed Nazi who is active in his local community, campaigns for a charity and believes in socialist principals is far harder to confront than any of the comfortingly obscene stereotypes. Thorpe ultimately finds himself having to disengage, not because his beliefs are being altered but because he realises there is only so much tolerance he is able to countenance. The piece is unapologetic, yet the creator seems as uncomfortable with some of his findings and feelings as the audience who find themselves complicit in the venture. An admirable piece of work that is akin to forum theatre, this is a very brave show which will leave you with numerous questions and a whole heap of discomfort.
Runs until 23rdAug